BPCC vs Sheepscombe – 8th May 2022
“Is this an LBW game?”
The first game of the season always contains its own magic. After a potential away game was scuppered by our own ‘skipper’ last Sunday, the season started in its rightful place; at home among the ducks, the pheasants, the sheep and their droppings.
All the preparations had been meticulously planned and carried out. The pavilion had been repainted by a diligent work party, the restored sightscreens gleamed in the soft spring sunlight, and a crack tea team had been assembled. Shame no-one had bothered to test the lawnmower.
Hours of effort by the chairman wielding the recalcitrant, unresponsive mower resulted in an outstanding wicket that produced five hundred runs in seventy overs. He also spent many further hours fruitlessly attempting to explain to me the internal (non-)workings of said piece of machinery.
Sheepscombe won the toss and opted to bat against the evergreen Walker and Angol. After 11 overs the visitors had only 34 on the board, providing hopes of a manageable chase that, regrettably, disappeared faster than the scones at teatime. George got the mustard-helmeted Davenport to drag on, then pinned Williams in front and barely appealed, such was its obvious plumbocity. But the umpire, amusingly dressed as a Victorian-era music hall performer, remained unmoved. George’s voice went up a few octaves as he politely queried the non-decision, forcing the umpire to ask his colleague at square-leg whether “this is an LBW game”. Another query, another octave from the bowler. After receiving assurances from his fellow that the Laws of Cricket were actually in effect, the finger was raised.
As it turned out, this was a fatal error.
Charlie Isaac came in at number five, and soon spotted the potential of the change bowling and the short boundaries. Four followed six followed four with monotonous regularity, and he was looking set fair for a big score when he chipped one back to Rhino who dived (fell) full length (not very far) and spilled the return catch, the only type of catch at which he usually excels. A costly one, as Sheepscombe droppings go. By the time he decided he’d had enough, he’d plundered 153*, with twelve sixes and eighteen fours, and the total had risen to an alarming 261 off 35 overs. Three wickets for George, two for Gareth and one each for Stan, Rhino and Will. The best of the bowlers went wicketless.
Boardman(42) and Cox (sr) (31) (there’s a special offer on brackets) anchored the response, and after a while noted that the boundaries were just as short in our innings. But the required rate was always going to be, in the inelegant phrasing of our Antipodean cousins, ‘a big ask’. Kerr the Younger, after a strangely muted innings, missed a straight one, and, this being an LBW game, had to go. But Harvey and Dean Yates gave the final total an air of respectability with an undefeated partnership of 101, 45* for dad and 55* for lad, and a final total of 229-5.
Sheepscombe 261-8 (C. Isaac 153, S. Davenport 31, G. Kerr 3-43)
BPCC 229-5 (H Yates 55*, D Yates 45*, P Boardman 32, M Cox 31)
Sheepscombe won by 32 runs
 Thank you, Andrew, Phil S, Stan, Nigel, Phil B.
 Thank you, Stan.
 Thank you, Jeanette, Andrew and Gill.
 Thank you to everyone who didn’t bother to test the mower.